Good morning friends. It feels odd this morning as I’ve woken up early on my day off ready for a week in the garden. I’ve made a coffee, sat myself on the sofa listening to the birds outside and feel SO content. So content that it feels good to be writing.
31 degrees in London today and i’m going ultimate holiday – the rush to get into the garden before someone takes my space, beach cover up at the ready, the excitement to nap and read in the sun all day, malibu with pineapple after breakfast, watermelon in the afternoon. I may as well be in Malta (which is where I should be going this week) Despite not getting on a plane this time, I’m excited for a break this week. It hasn’t taken long after furlough to feel completely consumed by work again – although I’m still at home and enjoying that, I am craving a holiday.
One of my favourite things about a beach holiday is getting stuck into a new book(s). I started a book club with my best friend at the beginning of the year, we’ve had a few new members which is exciting and I am so pleased we did it. In the last few years, particularly as I haven’t been on a beach holiday, I hadn’t finished one book. I spent my childhood reading, I always had a book in my hand but as life got in the way, it became harder to make the time. I forgot how much I loved it. So far this year, I have read 5 books (I’m onto my 6th) – It’s not groundbreaking but I am so pleased to be reading again and enjoying it with friends, reading the same things has been so beaut and such a push to read something new.
Here’s what has been on the list since January:
Maestra by L.S Hilton
I’ve had Maestra for a couple of years – it was recommend to me as a more ‘grown up’ fifty shades. It was a good one to start with because of how easy the read was but it took me a little while to get through it – I couldn’t get fully invested. It tells the story of Judith Rashleigh, an assistant for a London auction house. By night, she lands herself with a job as a hostess in one of the capital’s scandalous bars. When she is fired after discovering a secret in the art world, Judith becomes desperate to make something of herself and goes on an adventure with an old friend. A friend that likes to cause trouble. The sex is actually pretty minimal but the unnecessary murder is pretty high. I struggled to believe that its a story that could actually happen. That being said, it was an enjoyable read – just not one that I’d remember years from now.
The tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
The tattooist, was by far my favourite book so far this year. Anything based on a true story usually has me more invested and I was gripped, finishing this one within a few days. It’s the love story of Lale Sokolov who was given the job of tattooing the prisoners that arrive at Auschwitz-Birkenau, scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale meets Gita in the line of his tattoo station and from then on becomes determined to survive, for both of them. It’s a heart-breaking, heart-warming, courageous and unforgettable story of true love in a time consumed by so much hate. A must read.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
We decided to pick a classic, something different and having this recommended we all went for it. At over 1000 pages long with tiny writing, it is honestly the most challenging book I have ever read but do no regret a single page. It takes a little while, especially if medieval tales are not your thing but the more that you read, the more you start hoping for the characters, feeling angry or hurt for them. It’s a story of many people, set in the 12th century. But one man, Tom Builder dreams of the day he can use his talents to create and build a cathedral like no other. With his family on the verge of starvation, it becomes his mission to find work. Then comes Phillip, the prior of Kingsbridge looking for ways to make his beloved town thrive. When Tom and Philip meet so begins an epic tale of ambition, anarchy and absolute power. Lots of enemies, disaster, love. If it hadn’t of been for furlough, I’d still be reading this beast of a book but reaching the end felt good. Undeniably (as much as we joked about how terrible it was) it is brilliant writing and a beaut story.
One of us is lying by Karen McManus
I went for something easy after Pillars, a young adult murder mystery and really enjoyed this one. I’m a sucker for a YA book, I love anything set in an american high school telling nice easy stories of american stereotypes, anything that throws a little love story in there. I’m game. One of us is lying isn’t groundbreaking literature but it did have unexpected twists and I loved that it told the story from different perspectives. Five ‘very different’ students end up in detention and only four leave alive. Simon dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident and all of them are suspects. The plot twist is tight, the characters are brilliantly written and it’s just a fab easy read if you’re looking for something to get you hooked.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Conveniently, Little Fires Everywhere was recently released as a series on Amazon Prime which I am super exited to watch. This one is probably second on my favourite list so far this year. It’s set in the town of Shaker Heights, a meticulously planned progressive suburb. No one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, a successful journalist with the ‘perfect’ family. Enter Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother who arrives with her daughter, Pearl and rents a house from the Richardson’s. It tells the story of their pasts which eventually threatens to upheaval the quiet community. When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. It’s gripping, relevant, thought provoking and written perfectly. My only down side would be how abruptly it ended – left wanting more. A great read for anyone looking for something easy but with so much depth.
We have some amazing books lined up for the next couple of months. I am currently reading Small Great Things and despite only being 100 pages in, I think it might be my favourite so far. I hope that in sharing what I have been reading gives you some inspo to try something new. With so much going on in the world at the moment, it feels good to take a second to escape some place else.
Any recommendations? Send my way 😉